Posts Tagged Football

Playoffs? You Talking About the Playoffs?

A lot of people noticed that all 4 road teams won this past weekend, which might seem like an anomaly given the preference to home field advantage that most people assume exists.

I think in most cases, the better teams just came out on top, and one of the major factors in that are actually the QBs and their experience.

Compare the 2 sets, those who won vs those who lost.

In playoff starts, here is the experience of the past weekend’s losing team’s QBs in the playoffs.

Cousins 0-0
Hoyer 0-0
McCarron 0-0
Bridgewater 0-0

Not a single one has ever started a playoff game, and with the exception of Cousins who played in garbage time 4 years ago, none had ever even played in a playoff game either.

Now look at the QBs who were behind center on the winning teams.

Smith 1-2
Roethlisberger 10-5
Wilson 6-2
Rodgers 7-5

24-14 in playoff starts, and 4 super bowl wins by those QBs.

38 Starts to 0 starts in those QB matchups.

That’s what the difference really was in those games.

Also, interesting point of note, until the Redskins/Packers game on Sunday evening, not a single team had scored a 1st half touchdown on offense.

Now this weekend?

This is how the scheduled QBs stand for playoff history.

Smith 1-2 vs Brady 21-8
Roethlisberger 10-5 vs Manning 11-13
Wilson 6-2 vs Newton 1-2
Rodgers 7-5 vs Palmer 0-2

There are 9 SB wins in that group of QBs.

Based on playoff history and success of the QBs playing this weekend, would anyone be surprised if the winners are GB, NE, PIT, SEA?

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Lewis and Reed and Mason Oh My!

So the Patriots are playing the Ravens this weekend in the first round of the playoffs. This is going to be an interesting matchup, and the game is certainly going to be exciting.

To know why it is going to be exciting is to look back to the first time these two teams faced off in the regular season. It was the 4th game of the season and the Patriots were 2-1 while the Ravens were 3-0.

Neither team had a secure hold on the game at any point, and outside of Ray Rice, no one really had what could be considered a great game statistically. The Ravens were better though on the ground and through the air, while the Patriots managed to commit fewer penalties and control the time of possession better than the Ravens.

Now we come to the end of the season and the playoffs where these 2 teams meet again, a single game separating their regular season records.

Even as a diehard Patriots fan, the overwhelming majority of factors in this game favor the Ravens. The Patriots have 4 things in their favor on the field of play, their quarterback Tom Brady, their 3 man Defensive line, and their place kicker Stephen Gostowski. Wait, that is only 3, I will get to the fourth in a moment. The Ravens are better than the Patriots in pretty much every other category when it comes to running backs, offensive line, wide receivers, defensive backfield, and tight ends.

Then there is the 4th thing that I did not mention above, which probably gives the Patriots a slight edge in this entire situation. This is a desire for the young players, the stars of the future to make their mark and prove something to themselves, the press, their opponents and the rest of the league who are all calling them done, out of it, the end of an era. This is their time to step up and become what they know they can become.

Wes Welker went down with a serious injury last week, that is not good for the Patriots in general, he was their leading WR this season, near the top of the league in almost every WR category, 2nd all time in catches for a single season, and yet he also missed games 2 and 3 this year, as well as virtually all of the last game. To doubt or underestimate his importance to this team, and this team’s offense would be foolish. I do hope however that the opponents of the Patriots take this as an opportunity to overestimate how much his loss will affect the Patriots game plan and execution for the game.

I know I can be called crazy for what I am about to say, but so be it. I think that the loss of Wes Welker actually has the potential to be an advantage to the Patriots this post season and their ability to win. What? Yes, Yes I really did just type those words, and hear me out with this wild and crazy thought process.

Every team knows that Welker has been Tom Brady’s backup plan on nearly every play this year, he was the go to guy and was available on 2nd and 3rd looks all the time, and it worked. Teams didn’t try to stop him, they just tried to contain him, while also preventing the long ball to Sam Aiken or Randy Moss. Teams knew it would be him, it was always him, but who will it be now? Will it be Julian Edelman who filled in almost without a pause last week? Will it be Kevin Faulk who seems to step up and become the guy willing to do anything the coach asks him to? Will it be Ben Watson who steps it up to use his size and speed to his full potential? Will Sebastian Vollmer bouncing from the right side to the left side to mix it up against the defensive line make a difference?

I know I don’t know that, and I am guessing the Ravens, Colts, Chargers or whoever else the Patriots could be may not know that answer either. This is what gives the Patriots a slight advantage by not having Wes Welker in the game, it forces them to think of more and new options and use players in a way that the other team’s defenses don’t know how to defend.

Welker has been a mainstay in this offense for 3 years now, defenses are used to him and know what to expect and can study the film on him for the past 3 years, but what film is there from 4 or 5 years ago that would still be relevant to the Patriots now? Not a single WR was here 4 years ago, so it’s tough to really compare then to now with the passing offense.

If the Patriots want to win, they need to go back to 01, 03, 04 and do what was working for them and what made that team a winner. It wasn’t the big play, it wasn’t the long ball to Moss for 40+ yards that got them those wins. The things that will win this playoff run for the Patriots are screen passes, in routes, out routes, drag routes and curls to Edelman, Watson, Faulk, and Baker. While all those routes are going on, Moss needs to stick to it, run his come backs, go routes, and post patterns to be open in case that long shot is available.

If the Pats can do that, then I think they have the chance to go far, if not all the way in these playoffs.

Is this the only key to winning? No, definitely not. The defensive backfield needs to step up to not just the next level, but the level 1 step beyond that as well. They have been acceptable for most of the year, yes they give up yards and plays, but they have their moments when they are good at what they do, and while the WR against the Ravens this weekend hold the advantage, they also hold the disadvantage of having the ball thrown to them by Joe Flacco. Same goes for the defensive line, they need to step it up and get a better pass rush to force Flacco to make more errors than he normally would. These are definitely important, but I think the veteran leadership of Junior Seau on the field, and some motivation of the younger players like Butler, Mayo, Chung, and Meriweather to be stepping it up and being the players the patriots thing they can be.

Remember the beginning of this decade for the New England Patriots, it wasn’t the big name players who got those wins, it was the rough and tumble, hard playing almost unknown players who’s wins got them those big names.

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Well About Freakin Time!!

Let us bid farewell to Brett Favre, he has now officially retired.

No more talk about “the streak” no more talk about the battling veteran QB, no more talk about the records he is setting, no more putting his own glory and desire above and beyond those of the team.

Great career, some great things, but at least he was able to go out with some dignity with a halfway decent season this past year.

***UPDATE: Unfortunately this post turned out not to be true… even now, in 2010, Favre is still playing and will likely play again for the Vikings this year***


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Three Years for Trent Green?!?

What the hell are the Rams thinking?!?

He turns 38 this year, and a 3 year contract puts this concussion ridden player inder contract until he is 41, almost 42. That is just insane!!!

He is no Vinny Testaverde or Doug Flutie!


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Pats Add 2 More to the Roster

Sam Aiken and Jason Webster have been signed by the Patriots this week.

Aiken is a well respected Special teams player, as well as an occasional WR. I think he will used much more as a WR on the Pats than he was while on the Bills. For one thing, he will have a much better QB throwing at him, and second, the Pats need a good mid-range receiver, which he could become if he can take a hit while going across the middle.

Jason Webster is a big question mark in my mind, he was hurt last year in 1 game, and then he was also out for half the season before. I can’t really remember ever seeing him play, and he is not a shut down corner by any means because if he was he wouldn’t have been that cheap and he wouldn’t have been available, but we will see. I have learned to trust Pioli and Belichick when it comes to evaluating talent, so this could be a great signing, and it helps fill in the backfield some more.

Also to note, both players are coming from the Bills, so that probably helped them some and the Pats are probably hoping to get some inside info from them about the Bills and their play.


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A Slow D-back Catches No Moss

and in the games Moss will be wearing a Patriot’s jersey while they are trying to catch him, at least for the next 3 years accoridng to reports, the reports have varied though from 3 years 33 million to 3 years 24 million, and whatever it is, is worth it from my point of view.

now let’s get going on those CornerBacks, LineBackers, and Safeties to sure up that Defense so the offense doesn’t have to go nuts like they did this past year with the scoring.


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Free Agency Changes

Well, Free agency has been in full swing for a couple days now and the Patriots already have seen some major changes.

Donte Stallworth(WR) has signed a 7 year deal with the Cleveland Browns, so he is out of town.

Asante Samuel(CB) has signed a 5 year deal with Philadelphia Eagles.

Rosevelt Colvin(LB) – Released

Kyle Brady(TE) – Released

Oscar Lua(LB) – Released


Tedy Bruschi(LB) re-signed to a multi-year deal

Lonie Paxton(LS) re-signed to a 1 year deal

Kelley Washington(WR) re-signed

T.J. Slaughter(LB) – signed from Free Agency

No Decision yet:

Eugene Wilson(S) – Free Agent
Rashad Moore(DT) – Free Agent
Junior Seau(LB) – Free Agent
Chad Scott(CB)  – Free Agent
Jabar Gaffney(WR) – Free Agent
Mel Mitchel(S) – Free Agent
Randall Gay(CB) – Free Agent
Troy Brown(WR) – Free Agent
Randy Moss(WR) – Free Agent

Junior Seau and Troy Brown, I think will retire if they don’t re-sign with the Patriots. Junior is 39 and been int he league for 18 years, only reason he would come back is for that ring. Brown was drafted by the Pats in 1993 and has spent all 15 years with the Patriots, and this past year severely limited due to injury, so who knows?

At this point, Randy Moss has not been signed, so he is a full, unrestricted free agent out on the market right now. Reports indicate the Patriots made him an offer, but he refused it since he felt he was worth much more, which makes sense considering the stats he put up this past year while playing. There are a couple different rumors of what is going to happen with him floating around right now.

One of the rumors is Jerry Jones offering him a large contract to go play in Dallas, for some reason I am doubting this one, only because TO and Randy on the same team would probably implode the team as a whole with 2 guys who have large egos and are 2 of the top 5 recievers out in the league.

One of the other rumors is Philadelphia looking to pick up Moss as well, to add to the big names they have already signed, but I don’t see this one as very likely either, I just don’t think they have the money available in the cap to get this done.

The last and most interesting rumor of all concerning Moss is the report that he has been talking with Daunte Culpepper who is also a free agent this year, about trying to package themselves together for a reunion from their Minnesota days to market to a team who needs both a QB and a top of the line WR. This is going to be interesting and we will see how that shakes out for them.

The Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Running Backs, and of course, Quarterback positions are all going to remain the same this up coming year since all players are still under contract by the Patriots.


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So We Have What? 23 Hours?

23 hours until Free Agency in the NFL is in full swing…

2 big key things to watch for are Donte Stallworth and Randy Moss for the Pats, personally I would like to see both of them back for the team next year, and put up another stellar year like they did this year, but if I had to pick only 1, I would have to go with Moss.

My real hope lies in Randy’s ability to be consistent and happy with the team, if he can be kept happy and just enjoy the team he is on then there won’t be any problems with him, but if he somehow gets a huge salary with lots of guaranteed money, then things could potentially get ugly like they did in Oakland… but I have faith in the fact that he might want to shed his slacker reputation gained from his time on the Raiders and end his career on a high note, or several in order to seal what is already almost a certainty 5 years after he has retired from the game…

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The Verge of Perfection

Yes, the Patriots are on the verge of perfection.

It will be ever so sweet if they win, they will create a new bar to be reached, a new status for all teams to attempt to achieve.

They will also shut those damn aging 1972 Dolphins who’s only purpose for existence is to hold onto this one small speck of glory that they cling to every year.

Just to point out a few things to some people about that 1972 Dolphins team, it really isn’t as impressive as you may think.

In that season, the Dolphins played 2 teams who finished the season with a winning record. Also, they played no other teams who qualified for the playoffs that year.

This year, the Patriots played 6 teams who ended up in post season play, 4 of which were division winners versus wildcard winners.

So yeah, the competition the Dolphins were up against was basically nothing, an impressive feat, but it wasn’t quite worthy of the legend status that it has been built up to over the year.

Let’s go Pats!!

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Patriots Patriots Patriots

Well, how is this for a season so far? I must say this is quite interesting to say the least.

The Patriots, who have been condemned and ridiculed by fans of other teams as a team who was “9 points from being the Bills of the 2000s”, have been pretty much pounding every team they play.

Why? I think that is the question, why are they doing this?

Well, the whole Patriots organization has been pretty tight lipped about pretty much anything, all the time, since Bill Belichick took over as head coach, so they don’t give us much to really use to speculate on their thoughts.

Then the cheating scandal earlier this year, while I do not approve of it, I also don’t think it was really that big of a deal either. The likliehood that they were able to ever use any of the info from those tapes during the same game they taped the stuff is so highly unlikely, that it is just not worth thinking about.

I think the most telling statement made by anyone on the patriots came from one of my favorite players, Tedy Bruschi, who has been one of my favorite players since he came on board the team and started playing back in 1999.

“If someone questions your integrity, someone questions who you are and someone questions the organization you’ve been a part of ever since you walked into the league, would it upset you?” linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. “So, yes, it does upset me. If they want to keep saying those things, maybe we just need to play a little bit harder.”

So what does that tell me? It tells me that the Pats hear what is said out there, they hear what people talk about at the water cooler, and they hear what is said on sports message boards around the internet. No, this doesan’t mean they are checking them all out, but it means they know, and it inspires them to prove people wrong.

They want to be the dominant team, they want to prove everyone that they can be the big bad guys and dominate their opponants instead of just squeeking by each game.

As a fan, I am loving it, you see offensive fireworks, and you see key defensive plays.

and to all those who are complaining about the Patriots running up the score, sorry, but this isn’t Little League where everyone gets a trophy and a pizza party after the game, this is a professional league where players are paid to play and their pay is based on how well they perform. Would you condemn a consultant for not taking on all the work they can and earn the most they can? No different, they are paid to play the game and that is what they are doing, you don’t like they scoring, then stop them from scoring.


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